Most ambitious young professionals feel they need to live right in the heart of a city to jumpstart their careers, but for some, city life just isn’t all that appealing. Atlanta’s nightlife, entertainment, quick commutes, and shopping may not be enough to ignore the high costs, traffic congestion, and cramped housing that comes with any city. Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Flickr user disavian
Some young professionals prefer a small town, a suburb, or even a smaller city, which is why we compiled this list of places near Atlanta that suit ambitious young professionals’ needs. These 10 best places near Atlanta for young professionals prove you don’t need to live in the city to thrive: 1. Locust Grove
2. Sandy Springs (tie)
2. Vinings (tie)
4. North Decatur
5. Smyrna
6. Druid Hills
7. North Druid Hills
8. Villa Rica
9. Woodstock
10. Newnan
We created this list by researching places near Atlanta in terms of criteria that appeals to young professionals:
  • Unemployment rate
  • Percent of population aged 22-29
  • Percent of population who have attained a bachelor’s degree
  • Median earnings with a bachelor’s degree
  • Percent of population in professional occupations
  • Cost of living
A whole lot of number crunching and analysis, which we’ll talk more about at the end, led us to our top 10. Let’s take a look at the winners.

1. Locust Grove

Locust Grove - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: City of Locust Grove – City Hall via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 91, compared to Atlanta’s average of 104
  • Bachelor's degree holders: 20.06 percent
Locust Grove is a charming town about 50 minutes southeast of Atlanta. With a cost of living index of 91, plenty of community events, and convenient shopping at Tanger Outlets, this quaint community is a great fit for young professionals who favor quiet strolls over bar-hopping, or who are thinking a few years ahead to their young family days.

2. Sandy Springs (tie)

Sandy Springs - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Flickr user disavian

Key Stats:

  • Population aged 22-29: 15.89 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree holders: 36 percent
If you’re looking for a compromise between big city Atlanta life and small town life, Sandy Springs is the perfect middle ground, with a population of around 97,000. This city is just a 25-minute drive or a 40-minute commute by MARTA to Atlanta. Sandy Springs also has plenty of nightlife, shopping, and dining to offer young professionals all on its own.

2. Vinings (tie)

Vinings - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Vinings Jubilee via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Population aged 22-29: Ranked first with 25.65 percent
  • Unemployment rate: Second lowest at 3.29 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree holders: 40.22 percent
The peaceful town of Vinings, nestled along the Chattahoochee River, is just a 20 minute drive from downtown Atlanta. This progressive town also has the second lowest unemployment rate, and the highest population of 22-29 year olds of the places near Atlanta we ranked. Community festivals and concerts, farmers markets, shopping at Vinings Jubilee, and outdoor recreation make Vinings the perfect town for young professionals who want a quiet, charming place to come home to after a long day at work.

4. North Decatur

North Decatur - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: North Decatur United Methodist Church via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Population in professional occupations: 62.37 percent
North Decatur is just 15 to 20 minutes by car, or 25 to 35 minutes away from Atlanta by public transportation, making it an excellent suburb for commuters. Young professionals will also find plenty of other ambitious friends in North Decatur, with 63.37 percent of the population in professional occupations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University, and Emory University Hospital are also located just five minutes away, making North Decatur a perfect area for young medical professionals.

5. Smyrna

Smyrna - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: City of Smyrna, GA Government via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Population in professional occupations: 50.27 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree holders: 30.15 percent
Smyrna is a small city about 20 minutes northwest of Atlanta. Young professionals will appreciate Smyrna’s thriving downtown, parks and recreation, close-knit neighborhoods, and unique independent businesses. Summer festivals and shopping and dining at Market Village ensure there’s plenty for young professionals to do on weekends without another commute into Atlanta.

6. Druid Hills

Druid Hills - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Druid Hills United Methodist Church via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Unemployment rate: 5.38 percent
  • Population in professional occupations: 64.99 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree holders: 38.6 percent
Druid Hills is home to the Centers for Disease Control, Emory University and Hospital, and many young medical professionals who work there. Druid Hills is less than 15 minutes by car and about 30 minutes by public transportation from Atlanta. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, 64.99 percent of the population is working in professional occupations, and the unemployment rate is lower than many areas on our list at 5.38 percent.

7. North Druid Hills

North Druid Hills - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Flickr user alan48

Key Stats:

  • Population aged 22-29: 19.1 percent
  • Population in professional occupations: 60.95 percent
North Druid Hills is a great suburb for commuters, since it’s just 20 minutes by car and 40 minutes by public transportation from Atlanta. Convenient shopping at Toco Hills Promenade and plenty of well-manicured parks make this quiet suburb a great escape from Atlanta. Like North Decatur, North Druid Hills is just a few minutes away from the CDC, Emory University, and Emory University Hospital, making it another great area for young medical professionals.

8. Villa Rica

Villa Rica - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Villa Rica Tourism Bureau via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 96, compared to Atlanta’s average of 104
Villa Rica is a quickly growing historic city about 30 minutes by car from Atlanta. The low cost of living makes Villa Rica especially appealing to young professionals on a budget. The small tourism industry, historic sites, and festivals give this city unique character, while the recent growth and development point toward a bright future.

9. Woodstock

Woodstock - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Flickr user respres

Key Stats:

  • Population in professional occupations: 46.3 percent
  • Cost of living: 102, compared to Atlanta’s average of 104
Located about a 35-minute drive away from Atlanta, Woodstock is an excellent choice for young professionals thanks to the low cost of living, high percentage of the population in professional occupations, and thriving downtown. Farmers markets, events like Friday Night Live and Restaurant Week, and unique independent restaurants and stores are enough to make young professionals forget all about the weekend trip to Atlanta and spend their time off closer to home.

10. Newnan

Newnan - Atlanta Suburbs
Source: Main Street Newnan via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 99, compared to Atlanta’s average of 104
  • Population in professional occupations: 32.52 percent
Newnan offers beautiful historic architecture and homes at a fraction of Atlanta prices. This area also offers large, open green spaces and a quaint, thriving downtown just 40 minutes away from Atlanta. Though only 19.07 percent of residents have attained a bachelor’s degree, the median earnings for those with a bachelor’s degree are higher than many places on our list at $57,436.

Taking Care Of Business

Now that you have a list of the top 10 places near Atlanta for young professionals, all that’s left to do is find time in your busy schedule to move. But for now, you can get back to work (or maybe playing as hard as you work), because when it comes to finding the best place to kick back at the end of a long day, we’ve done the job for you. And if you need help finding a house in one of those best places, just let us know.

Our Methodology

When we created this list, just like all of our Big Deal Lists, we relied on facts and figures, not opinions. To come up with our 10 best places for young professionals, we gathered the following data from the U.S. Census and AreaVibes:
  • Unemployment rate
  • Percent of population aged 22-29
  • Percent of population who have attained a bachelor’s degree
  • Median earnings with a bachelor’s degree
  • Percent of population in professional occupations
  • Cost of living
From there, we ranked 84 places near Atlanta with scores from one to 84 in all of the above categories. Because some things are more important to young professionals, we double weighted the percent of population aged 22-29, median bachelor’s degree earnings, and cost of living. All other criteria had normal weight. We averaged these scores into one overall Big Deal Score to come up with the 10 best places for young professionals near Atlanta. To see how other places near Atlanta measured up, check out the table below. Best Places Near Atlanta For Young Professionals Feature Image Source: Flickr user BurnAway Know Atlanta? Tell us your favorite nearby places in the comments below!